There’s no way around it; you’re stuck.
Your home needs a lot of work, and you can’t afford to fix it up. You want to list it, but who’s going to buy a money pit? There are things you can do to make your home more attractive to potential buyers without spending your life savings. There are also ways to get around making any investment in repairs and not forking over one single penny.
We know this is a common question, and the answer is yes! Just because your home needs renovations doesn’t mean you can’t sell it. There are ways around paying for big-ticket fixes. We’re going to explore what it would take for you to make some minor repairs, apply for a home improvement grant, or sell the house as-is.
Before you get started, let's consider not only your options for selling, but also who will be buying your home. What is the condition of your home? Is it out-dated only cosmetically, or are there significant structural and system repairs that are needed? How you answer these questions will determine whether you should list your home or if you should sell your home to an investor as a fixer upper.
A home inspection is not always needed, especially when you are selling a house that needs repairs, but if you want to get a good idea of the repairs you would need to make to your home, this is a good place to start. If you can’t afford major repairs, focus on the minor fixes that may make the home more attractive to potential buyers. Tasks like adding fresh paint, installing new hardware, or patching drywall don’t have to cost a lot of money.
Curb appeal is a good place to start. First impressions matter. If a potential buyer falls in love with the exterior of the home, they may be willing to invest the money to make it look good on the inside, too. Simple activities like power washing your driveway or trimming back overgrown bushes can make a huge difference.
What home improvements add the MOST value?
Home improvements that add the most value include hardwood flooring refinish or new wood flooring, minor bathroom remodels, minor kitchen remodels, fresh paint, landscaping, and exterior improvements. Home improvements that buyers can see will impress them the most.
What home improvements add the LEAST value?
Home improvements that add the least value include expensive lighting, bright and bold paint colors, sunrooms, and adding swimming pools or hot tubs—just to name a few.
PRO TIP: If your home only needs minor repairs such as these, your best option for selling might be to list your home on the traditional MLS through a real estate agent! I'm hesitant to promote minor repairs to a distressed property. Inevitably, there are other concerns that will cause lending, inspection, or appraisal issues. If you solve one problem but leave a host of others it's difficult to see how you have improved your negotiating position. You also risk making an improvement that the end buyer doesn't find as desirable as you anticipated. For example, I wouldn't recommend painting walls if the floors need to be changed and the major systems need updating. Protect your cash!
You may be eligible for a government-sponsored home improvement grant to update your property. This is not a loan, so you don’t have to pay the money back.
A good place to start looking for a home repair grant is your local Housing and Urban Development (HUD) office. The HOME Investment Partnerships Program, for example, is designed for low-income homeowners. Organizations such as the National Residential Improvement Association and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) also distribute home improvement grants. Eligibility and requirements vary depending on which home repair grant you’re applying for. The details are usually tied to income, location, and the type of project. The USDA requires the property to be in a designated rural area and the money to be used to address health and safety concerns or improve accessibility.
PRO TIP: Grants can be valuable for homeowners. They are usually restricted to owner occupants (not available to investment or inherited properties). They often have some restrictions placed on them, you might suffer a repayment penalty if the house is sold within "X" number of years, or have a similar string attached to the improvements that the grant funded. Depending on the grant you may also be responsible for sourcing or managing the quality of the work. Do your research and understand the details of the grant. If the situation is appropriate they can be a valuable way to improve your property value. We see this being a total love it or list it scenario. By the end of the process, you might not want to sell your home!
It’s not impossible to sell your house as-is. Some buyers look for houses that need work so they can renovate and resell. Buyers with smaller budgets may prefer to purchase a home for less and do the repairs themselves to both save money and add personalization. This is a great option for selling a house that needs repairs.
If you’re working with a real estate agent to sell your home as-is, you’ll have to give them (and potential buyers) full disclosure on what’s wrong with it. You will likely get less money than you were hoping for. If you choose to sell your home as-is through a traditional listing, the way to best market your fixer-upper is to focus on the positives. Features like a great location, a huge lot, and flex space can overcome the negative cosmetic aspects. Be sure to price it appropriately and be aware of whether you’re selling in a buyer’s or a seller's market.
PRO TIP: Remember the deal isn't done until the house closes! If you receive an offer with an inspection contingency don't be surprised to see an altered offer amount after the purchaser has completed their due diligence. Prioritize simplicity in the offer you accept and check for a reputable business profile on Google or the Better Business Bureau. Value cash over lending. Many people assume they can get financing, but they may not be aware of the challenges of completing lending on distressed property.
There are many advantages to selling a house as-is. If you are not familiar with the home improvement space it is easy to underestimate the complexity, cost, and difficulty of completing the process. It's easy to spend too much of your own cash and find yourself in a difficult position without a clear path to completion! There are many investors who specialize in acquiring distressed property. Letting them compete for your property can yield you a strong return without the risk of completing a remodel.
If you don’t want to go through the hassle of listing your home on the traditional MLS, there is another option for you! Selling your home to a cash buyer might be your best option if you are going to be selling a house that needs repairs.
When you sell your home to a cash buyer, there are no repairs to be made. There’s not a lot of back and forth on the asking price. And there’s little time wasted waiting for the deal to go through.
Selling to a cash buyer is a quick process that allows you to get rid of your home and put money in your pocket. The steps are simple:
From there, the closing process can take less than 10 days. You don’t even have to move out the contents of the home if you don’t want to, which is a great benefit if you’ve inherited a property.
PRO TIP: Cash buyers can be a great option. They represent simplicity, speed, and convenience. Try to verify that the buyer is actually the investor, not a wholesaler looking to sell your contract. A wholesaler can back out of the contract with limited warning and leave you in a difficult position. Remember to push for non-monetary concessions depending on your needs. For example, it may be beneficial to have time after closing to finish removing possessions, or you may want to leave the house "as-is" without cleaning it out, or close on a specific day of your choosing. Cash buyers should be very flexible with your requests.
New Again Houses® buys houses as-is in any condition and transforms them into fully remodeled homes families can enjoy for years to come. We will never sell your contract or your information and would love the opportunity to invest into the community by making your older home new again. If you need to sell your house fast, you can trust us to make you a fast and fair cash offer for your home.